Atley Family Crest, Coat of Arms and Name History


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Atley Origin:


Origins of Atley:

This most interesting surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a geographical name for someone who resided near a meadow, field or piece of arable land, from the Olde English pre 7th Century “aet”, Middle English “atte”, which means “at” with the Olde English “leah”, Middle English “Lee”, which means wood, clearing in a wood. So, Atlay has held the preposition “aet” which has, down through the ages, been combined with the second component, as in the example of the names Byfield, Uphill, Underdown, and much more. The surname also appeared in the new phrase as At(t)lee, Atley, and Attle. It first shows in recordings in the late 13th Century, and John Attele listed in the Hundred Rolls of Berkshire in 1276. Other early examples of the surname contain as William atte Leye noted in the Premium Rolls of Sussex in 1296, and Thomas Attlee, who showed in Suffolk in 1327, in the Pinchbeck Registers. An interesting name holder, mentioned in the “Dictionary of National Biography,” was one Rev. James Atlay (1817 – 1894), who was a priest of Hereford from 1868 – 1894, and given a Coat of Arms which represents a fesse between three black curves on a silver shield.


More common variations are: Oatley, Attley, Eatley, Autley, Atoley, Ahtley, Ataley, Atle, Atly, Whatley.


The surname Atley first appeared in Kent where they held a family seat from ancient times. Some say before the Norman Invasion in 1066.

The very first recorded spelling of the family was shown to be that of Robert Atte Lee, dated about the year 1275, in the “Subsidy Rolls of Worcestershire.” It was during the time of King Edward I who was known to be the “The Hammer of the Scots,” dated 1272 – 1307. The origin of surnames during this period became a necessity with the introduction of personal taxation. It came to be known as Poll Tax in England. Surnames all over the country began to develop, with unique and shocking spelling variations of the original one.


Many of the people with surname Atley had moved to Ireland during the 17th century.

United States of America:

Individuals with the surname Atley landed in the United States in the 17th century. Some of the people with the name Atley who arrived in the United States in the 17th century included Charles Atley who arrived in New England in 1684.

Here is the population distribution of the last name Atley: Australia 232; United States 172; England 134; Canada 75; New Zealand 45; Germany 3; China 2; India 1; Spain 1; Tanzania 1

Notable People:

Shaun Atley is a professional Australian rules football player who plays for the North Melbourne Football Club in the Australian Football League (AFL). He was taken with draft pick #17 in the year 2010 National Draft, and played the following year, in the 2011 AFL season. He made his appearance in Round 1, against West Coast. 2012 was a much more successful year for Atley. He played every possible game and was listed as one of the competition’s most successful player.

Jack Atley is an Australian photographer and race car driver.

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Blazons & Genealogy Notes

1) Ar. a fesse betw. three crescents sa. Crest—On an escutcheon ar. a pheon az.
2) Gu. a cross crosslet erm.

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